Poland backs down on total abortion ban following protests in 60 cities

In a glaring example of how badass women can be, Poland is backing off its proposed abortion ban after thousands of women went on strike to protest the new law. On “Black Monday,” women dressed in black, skipped work and school, and took to the streets in 60 cities. And it seems to have worked. Now, there are members of the parliament who are thinking twice about moving forward.

Jarosław Gowin, the minister of science and higher education, told The Guardian the protests “caused us to think and taught us humility.” This is some good news, but let’s not lose perspective. Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe (Mike Pence would love it there), and the new ban would just take it a little bit further, with a blanket ban on abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and would put women in jail if they attempted to seek one. But the overall sentiment in light of the protests seems to be veer towards ditching the new proposals and maybe even liberalizing the current laws.

Senate speaker Stanislaw Karczewski said the upper house of parliament wouldn’t move forward on any new proposals until the lower house, which has more power, acted. But Kaarczewski still said that he would support a ban on abortions of fetuses with Down syndrome, which is allowed right now.

They are wonderful children, very much loved by their parents, very loving parents, bringing a lot of warmth and a lot of love into a home, Karczewski told The Toronto Star. “I am a great opponent of killing such children.” No doubt they are, but women should have a choice about what kind of life they want to lead. What happened to that aforementioned humility?

The fact that thousands of women taking to the streets, wearing all black in the rain made some lawmakers stop and think twice is good news, though. Poland also has a hearing with the European Union coming up about the state of women’s rights in the country, so it wouldn’t of looked good for them to show up with mass protests going on. It’s mostly covering the government’s ass and slightly respecting what women have to say. Foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski said on Monday, “Let [the protestors] have their fun.” He also said that “dressing up, screaming silly slogans and vulgarities” was “making a mockery of very important issues.” As if taking away women’s rights wasn’t an important issue. But screw that — the world needs good news and if protests can make Polish lawmakers think twice about jailing women for seeking an abortion (like they do in El Salvador), that’s worth doing a little happy dance.

It’s almost like a modern day Lysistrata, but better, because instead of withholding sex to win, they shopped showing up for work. Good stuff all around.